Thursday, November 29, 2007

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Barts!

This past Saturday we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two of my co-workers and good friends, Wes and Lindsey Barts. It was a beautiful wedding- I don't think I have ever seen a groom so happy to see his bride walk down the aisle towards him, and I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful, elegant bride!

Abby enjoyed the reception- she slept the whole time, and got to be held and loved on by lots of people. Here she is with our good friend Sarah Calhoun, who came all the way from Boston with her husband Austin for Thanksgiving and the wedding. It was so great to see them!!

My parents came up Saturday night for the rest of the weekend and my brother Matt got to meet his neice for the first time. Yay Uncle Matt!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poop face

Yesterday we took Abby to her first appointment with the pediatrician. While there, she had a poopy diaper that we had to change before weighing her. Right after we had changed her, we caught her making this face as she dropped a few more ounces in her new, fresh diaper. We've noticed her making this face a few more times since then, and always know what's coming next....

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Abigail Shea Benson!

At 6:30 on Friday morning, Andy and I went in to the hospital to be induced- the doctor came in at 8am to get everything started, and just 4 1/2 hours later at 12:33pm, we met Abigail Shea for the first time! We were pretty surprised to see a little girl- pretty much everyone we know thought we were going to have a boy! We were also very surprised to see a full head of dark hair, since Andy and I were both toe-heads! We (I) couldnt have asked for a better labor- though intense and pretty painful at times, it went so fast I was actually able to order food for lunch afterwards (I had thought I wouldn't be able to eat for 15 or so hours!), and we had the rest of the day to enjoy getting to know our little one.

Abby weighed 6lbs, 9oz. and is 19 3/4 inches long. She passed all her tests with flying colors and is sleeping and eating pretty well for a 3 day-old. So far, she has been the most pleasant baby! We think that she is perfect and beautiful, but we are pretty biased!

Words cannot describe the joy that she has brought into our lives already. Every time we look at her we are reminded of how much the Lord loves us and desires to bless us with good things. We are so thankful that He has given her to us!

Here are some of her first pictures:

Just born!

We are overjoyed!

Andy is delighted to be a daddy to a little girl

Grandma and Grandpa Benson

Grandma and Grandpa Berlin

Uncle Chris drove all the way from Chicago to meet her!

Uncle Dan

Grandpa Berlin and Uncle Dan

Aunt Cara

Aunt Katie

Dressed up in her Hokie gear for the Tech vs. Miami game- the clothes were a little big!

Whenever four or more Berlins are gathered...
In true Berlin family style, we played two games of Settlers of Cataan over the course of the weekend.

Going home: The carseat swallows Abby whole!

And for those who have asked, Bruiser is doing GREAT with her! My mom recoreded us bringing Abby into the house and introducing her to Bruiser for the first time, it's pretty funny! He is very curious and loves to sniff her and check her out, but he is being very calm and is actually obeying us well! We are so thankful for this!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Health Update

Most of you who read this blog have been updated about Andy's medical condition, but I wanted to put up a post for those whom we haven't had a chance to email or talk to yet about it.
Two weeks ago we discovered via an MRI that Andy has a large, 3.5cm acoustic neuroma in his brain. An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that comes from the hearing and balance nerves and balloons out towards the brain. We discovered it because he has been experiencing hearing loss in his left ear for the past two years, and sporadic cases of vertigo for the last year (these are two of the most common symptoms). These particular types of tumors grow very slowly, about 2mm/year, and so the doctor told us that Andy has most likely had it for at least 5-7years. He also has remarkably low side affects considering the size of his tumor and that it is pressing pretty heavily on his brain stem. We are very thankful that he hasn't had worse symptoms until now, and especially that the tumor is benign. Acoustic neuromas are curable, survivable tumors, and for that we praise God!
Because of the size and proximity to his brain stem, we need to operate to remove the tumor very soon. We have scheduled surgery for December 13th at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va. Andy will have to be in the hospital for about a week afterwards to recover, and then recovery could be anywhere from a quick couple of weeks to 6 months or so. We are praying that the side effects from the surgery will be minimum- possible side effects are headaches, fatigue, and facial weakness or facial paralysis (because the tumor is also attached to his facial nerve on the left side), among other things. Dr.Wright was very honest with us about the after effects of this kind of surgery, but gave us much hope that the best outcome is very possible!

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy for us, as we have been on the internet, the phone, and the road constantly researching surgeons. We have had our moments of fear, especially at the beginning when we didn't know a lot about the tumor or the surgery. Most of all, though, we have seen so clearly through this whole thing how real and vast and deep the Lord's incredible love is for us. Even in the darkest moments, the first couple of days when we thought things were going to be much worse, we never doubted that God was with us, providing for us all that we need, and hiding us in the shadow of his wings. We know that pain and suffering are a very real part of the world we live in, and sickness plays no favorites, but the Lord promises "never to leave us or forsake us", and that he is "working all things for good, for those who love him." It has also been so neat to see God provide for both our spiritual and practical needs through the church, our family, and friends. It is at times like this when you see so clearly why we were created for community, not to go through life alone.
One of the biggest ways we have seen God's provision has been through the coming of our first child. In the midst of one of the hardest moments of our lives, we are joyously anticipating one of the BEST moments of our lives. We know that the Lord has given us this child as an incredible blessing and a display of his favor towards us. He is the creator and recreator of life, our sustainer and healer. We can't wait to meet our child and tell them of our great God!

I want to finish this post with some verses from Psalm 112- Ken Aldrich sent this to me when we first found out about the tumor, and it has been a great encouragement to me in the past few weeks.

Praise the Lord.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in his commands.
His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness LIGHT dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man...
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes...

The "wealth" and "riches" that we enjoy are not wealth and riches as the world sees them, but joy, hope, faith, and love. When we fear the Lord and not the world, or even "bad news", our homes are full not of fear, guilt, or anxiety, but with faith, hope, love, and joy. We do not need to fear anything in this world, if we are safe and secure in the Lord. The things of this world will pass- our health, our money, our looks, but his righteousness endures forever. Praise God that through his son Christ, we are made righteous and that this, too, endures forever. This world is not it. Even the end of our lives is really the beginning! Though there may be bad news durring our time here, THIS is GOOD news!

Please continue to be praying for the surgery and Andy's recovery, and that we would continue to be free from fear and anxiety. Also, please be praying with us for the safe and healthy arrival of our baby- there is a good possiblity that we may be induced some time next week!!! We would love to go into labor naturally before then, but it is very exciting to know that we will probably be parents this time next week!! We can't wait!